Once I started down this accounting path, it has taken the help of other CPAs to get me where I am today.
My first CPA mentor was at the bank where my father worked. We also went to church together. He helped direct me to public accounting and auditing. My most recent mentor is Benton Clark, CFO at United Way of Tarrant County. He’s my boss and has been at UWTC for over 40 years. I’ll have been here 4 years in May, and I can’t image what it would be like without having his guidance that whole time. Some of the ways that he’s helped guide me are:
Organizational History – Benton knows why we do what we do because he’s experienced the changes for the past 40 years. I’ve heard countless stories of our organization that would have been lost if he wasn’t here.
Leading by Example – On my first day of work, Benton was standing on a ladder, changing a light bulb over the front reception desk.
Let me say that another way. The CFO of the company was doing whatever needed to get done in order to keep business running. He isn’t “too good” for anything. If he’s not “too good,” I’m certainly not “too good.” This experience reemphasized to me the need for a servant attitude and respect for everyone in the organization. It’s called humility. In customer service, this attitude is essential. From my experience, most of accounting is customer service in some shape or form.
The other lesson I’ve learned from all of my mentors is that I can’t give back to them. Not really. They give a gift of information or direction. They provide the best possibilities from their own experiences, some being very painful.
When you’re given a gift that you can’t reciprocate, you find yourself being more generous to others. The reason I help other young students and CPAs is because of my mentors; because I was helped along the way. It’s knowing and accepting that I couldn’t have gotten here by myself and that others need that same help.
Brandon Booker, 33, is VP Finance and Controller, United Way Tarrant County. His background includes experience in public accounting and in corporate accounting with a major defense contractor. He is a member of the Fort Worth Chapter’s executive committee, and in June, 2015, will begin a term on the TSCPA board of directors. In 2013, he was named “Young CPA of the Year” by the Fort Worth Chapter for his leading work in establishing a ground-breaking accounting career education program, “Pathway to CPA.”